Singapore Institute of Technology must create its own identity to stand out: Heng Swee Keat

As Singapore's newly minted autonomous university, the Singapore Institute of Technology needs to carve out its own identity to stand out, Education Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Friday at the graduation of its third cohort.

It must ensure that its courses continue to have strong industry links, so that graduates have specialised and relevant skills that the economy needs, he added.

Set up in 2009, SIT was officially established as Singapore's fifth autonomous university in March. It currently offers 31 degree programmes, most of which are awarded by overseas schools like Glasgow University. Polytechnic upgraders make up about 95 per cent of its intake.

But from August, SIT will offer its own new degrees in infrastructure engineering, software engineering and accountancy.

Mr Heng, who was addressing some 500 guests at Suntec City Convention Centre, said SIT needs to constantly innovate and come up with new programmes to meet the needs and interests of young people.

It must also not forget to equip students with practical skills that will prepare them well for work in their chosen fields, he added.

About 400 students graduated from SIT's seven degree programmes in May, including game design, hotel administration and electrical engineering and information technology. This also includes the pioneer cohort of nearly 20 chemical engineering students.

The degrees were awarded by three overseas institutions: Technical University of Munich, DigiPen Institute of Technology and University of Nevada, Las Vegas.